Ocean swell

Waves crash against the West Jetty of Newport Bay. The National Weather Service warned that an ocean swell could produce deadly "sneaker" waves along the coastline, and advised people against fishing from rocks of jetties through at least Tuesday afternoon. (Don Bartletti / Los Angeles Times)

Forecasters are warning beachgoers of a strong swell that could produce deadly “sneaker” waves capable of sweeping people into the ocean.

The “long period” northwest swell will primarily affect the central and northern coastline -- from Sonoma County south to Monterey County -- producing large surf and rip currents, according to the National Weather Service, which issued a warning on Monday.

Sneaker waves were blamed in the deaths of three members of an Arcata family last year near Eureka. The tragedy unfolded when the family dog got swept up in a wave near the water’s edge. A 16-year-old boy and his parents died while trying to rescue it and one another when they too got caught in the raging surf.

The National Weather Service warned that the latest swell will last through at least Tuesday afternoon and create “potentially dangerous” conditions at some beaches, including large shore breaks.

The weather service also warned against fishing from rocks and jetties, and advised beachgoers to "always keep your eyes on the ocean."

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jason.wells@latimes.com

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